FacultyFaculty/Author Profile

Hon. Joseph A. Zayas

Queens Supreme Court
Administrative Judge, Criminal Term
Kew Gardens, NY, USA


The Hon. Joseph A. Zayas, a 1988 graduate of Columbia University School of Law, was appointed by former Chief Judge Jonathan Lippman as the Administrative Judge for Supreme Court (Criminal Term) in Queens County in 2013.  He was appointed as a Judge of the Court of Claims by Governor Andrew Cuomo in 2012.  He was originally designated an Acting Supreme Court Justice in 2010 and was previously appointed  as a Judge of the Criminal Court of the City of New York by Mayor Michael Bloomberg in 2003, and re-appointed in 2010.  

In addition to his Administrative responsibilities, Justice Zayas also presides over jury trials and the County’s youth cases (Youthful Offender Adjudications, including Juvenile Offenders).  He previously presided over the County’s indicted Domestic Violence cases, as well as the County’s forensic cases (competency and insanity cases).  He also previously served as Deputy Supervising Judge of Criminal Court in Queens County and as the Presiding Judge of the Queens Misdemeanor Treatment Court (QMTC) and the Mental Health Recovery Court (MHRC).   Justice Zayas has also written seventeen decisions which have been published in the official reporter, The Miscellaneous Reports, Third Series.  Justice Zayas has regularly served as a Presenter/Lecturer at various Judicial Seminars, including Seminars for New Judges and Seminars related to Drug Treatment Courts, Mental Health Treatment Courts and Youth Courts.

Prior to his Judicial appointment, Justice Zayas served as the Principal Law Clerk for Supreme Court Justice Rolando T. Acosta (who now serves in the Appellate Division, First Department), at the Harlem Community Justice Center, a multi-jurisdictional, problem-solving court serving the communities of East and Central Harlem.  Prior to working with Justice Acosta, Justice Zayas served as a Senior Staff Attorney with The Legal Aid Society’s Capital Defense Unit, Criminal Appeals Bureau, and Criminal Trial Division. 

Justice Zayas attended public schools in New York City, having been raised in public housing projects (the Frederick Douglas Housing Projects) and in West Harlem, after his large family came to New York City from Barranquitas, Puerto Rico in the 1950s.
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